Remanded to BIA for Further Consideration
Singh v. Holder
On April 16, 2009, Singh v. Holder was determined by the Circuit Court located in Cincinnati, Ohio. A successful Indian immigrant (a green card holder) was denied reentry due to past records of committing moral turpitude. Therefore, this opinion focuses on the application and scope of moral turpitude as defined in law. As much as the petitioner presented best evidence of hardship removal could incur, he was denied cancellation of removal due to extensive criminal record. Petitioner appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). BIA denied the application for motion to reopen, a special waiver due to extraordinary circumstance and cancellation of removal. Petitioner thus appealed to the Circuit Court.
Circuit Court remanded the case for further consideration. After all, the basis of denial was based on an assault conviction based on Michigan law. However, each state defines assault very differently. Michigan criminal code defines mens rea for assault includes both intent to harm or to cause apprehension. Based on past record, BIA never appeared to consider menacing with a dangerous weapon an act of moral turpitude. Holding a baseball bat to inspire fear constitutes assault in Michigan, and is of the same gravity as assault that were attempted or unsuccessful battery. Therefore, BIA must address this issue of whether individually, partially or collectively, items of Singh’s record may be crimes of moral turpitude. BIA, as far as the Court was concerned, did not adequately address why the assault conviction is a crime of moral turpitude.
Moral of the story is simple. Lawful permanent residents with criminal record, whenever possible, should consider naturalization to avoid probable deportation.